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  • the Ananda Temple (pictured) in Bagan, Myanmar, with four standing Buddhas facing the cardinal directions, is said to be an architectural wonder titled the "Westminster Abbey of Burma"?

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A view of Ananda Temple
A view of Standing Buddha

Ananda Temple is a Buddhist temple built in 1105 during the reign of King Kyanzittha. It is located in Bagan, Myanmar. The name Ananda comes from the name of Buddha's cousin and personal secretary Venerable Ananda, although it was once known as Ananta Temple, coming from the phrase ananta pinya, which translates as 'endless wisdom'. The temple is built with adapted Indian architectural styles. The temple houses four standing Buddhas, which are adorned with gold leaf, with each facing a direction, from north to south. The temple is cruciform in shape, with several terraces leading to the top, which terminates with a small pagoda and an umbrella (hti). Along the sides of the terraces and the base of the temple are terra cotta tiles illustrating scenes from the Jataka. Also, there is a shrine of Kyanzittha and Shin Arahan.

The temple is also home to an annual week-long festival that is held during the month of Pyahto (December to January). Thousands of villagers from miles around set up encampments around the temple. On the morning of the full moon, they offer gift bowls for the hundreds of monks in attendance.

References

  • Pictorial Guide to Pagan. Rangoon: Ministry of Culture. 1975 [1955].  

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